Head Coach Position Endowed in Memory of Caroline Ruth Thompson ‘02

Caroline Thompson.
Caroline Thompson.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey head coach position has been endowed in memory of Caroline Ruth Thompson '02, who played for the Bulldogs from 1998 through 2001. Pam Stuper, who is in her ninth year as Yale's mentor, is now the Caroline Ruth Thompson '02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. Yale plans to recognize the new endowment at Alumnae Day, Sept. 21 vs. Harvard.

"It is very fitting to see Caroline Thompson's name permanently associated with Yale field hockey in this fashion," said Tom Beckett, Yale's Director of Athletics. "Coming on the heels of our program's 40th anniversary celebration last year, this endowment represents another major milestone for the program. It ensures that our coaches and student-athletes will have the support needed in their ongoing pursuit of excellence." 

The endowed position was made possible by a donation from Kathleen and Neil Thompson '63 in honor of their daughter, who was captain of the team in 2001. Stuper, a member of the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame, was an assistant coach at Yale when Thompson played for the Bulldogs. That included the 1998 season, when the Bulldogs won the ECAC Championship and set the school record for victories with 15.

"The incredible support and generosity of the Thompson family for our field hockey program is unparalleled and I am eternally grateful," said Stuper. "Caroline was an amazing young woman whom I had the pleasure of coaching as an assistant coach for the program."

A native of Chestnut Hill, Mass., Thompson overcame an injury that cost her her entire freshman season to emerge as a key contributor for the Bulldogs both offensively and defensively. She started every game for the final two years of her career, leading the team in assists as a junior and goals as a senior. She became one of the team's top strikers on attack penalty corners, and served as the fly on defensive penalty corners.

"When Caroline was sidelined with a season-ending injury her freshman year, we spent a great deal of time doing alternative training," said Stuper. "Because of this I had the pleasure of spending hours swimming and biking with her. Her hard work, determination and perseverance paid off for the remainder of her Yale career."

After graduating from Yale with a B.A. in history, Thompson became a U.S. Naval intelligence officer and later worked at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. She passed away in January of 2012.

"Caroline was one of those women that not only lit up the field, but also lit up a room! Intelligent, witty, and full of life, she was one in a million! We miss her, we love her, and she will never be forgotten," said Stuper.

Stuper, a native of Lancaster, Pa., took over as head coach in 2005 and led the Bulldogs to an Ivy League championship in 2011 -- the school's first since 1980. The championship came as part of a remarkable run of success for Yale in recent years under Stuper, the 2009 NFHCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year. The Bulldogs have gone 40-28 overall in the last four seasons (20-8 in the Ivy League). That is the second-most wins in a four-year span in school history. Yale finished the 2011 season with a school-record 69 goals, marking the sixth straight season the Bulldogs increased their goal total over the previous year.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity